White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows met with major airline chief executives on Thursday as the industry braces for thousands of job cuts in two weeks, and urged lawmakers to embrace a $1.5 trillion coronavirus aid package proposed by a bipartisan congressional group and endorsed by President Donald Trump. Meadows told reporters “if (House) Speaker (Nancy) Pelosi was willing to move a bill to keep people from being laid off in the airline industry that’s stand-alone, that the president would certainly support it.”
Other transportation sectors are also seeking billions of dollars in new bailout funds, including public transit, bus companies and the Amtrak passenger rail service.
Meadows said the administration had examined executive action options, all of them less than ideal. Airlines did not offer a new proposal but again made the case that helping avert airline job cuts was one good reason to pass a broad coronavirus relief bill. After the meeting with Meadows, American Airlines AAL.O Chief Executive Doug Parker said it was “not fair” that thousands of airline workers were about to be laid off. “It’s not fair to them, it’s not fair to our country. … We’re just here to plead with everyone involved to get to a COVID relief package before October 1,” Parker said.